Most movies come from the cultural moment of when they were spawned, and a great example of that would be 1974’s Death Wish, the cinematic adaptation of the novel by Brian Garland starring Charles Bronson as Paul Kersey, an architect turned vigilante, and directed by Michael Winner. The film tapped into the cultural moment with escalating fears of crime in New York City and audiences flocked to watch the story of an architect slowly morph into a vigilante killer, and the film was such a hit it spawned multiple sequels over the ensuing decades. Now director Eli Roth is bringing Paul Kersey into the 21st century and it just leaves one wondering: Do we really need this kind of character and this kind of story in this particular cultural moment? Doesn’t matter because Eli Roth is bringing his Death Wish remake into theaters this year and we have the second trailer of what is likely to be a controversial action thriller.
To be fair, I won’t write off any film entirely before actually seeing it, but I do fear that the combination of vigilante violence through the lens of Eli Roth has a dangerously high risk of coming across tone deaf in the wake of incidents such as the killing Trayvon Martin and the rising of heavily armed gun nuts viewing themselves as sovereign citizens above the law. I do suspect, though, that Eli Roth, with his extensive background in horror and torture porn, won’t be able to find much nuance in Bruce Willis‘ turn as Paul Kersey (this time a doctor) an anti-hero.
Veteran action filmmaker Joe Carnanhan writes the updated script based upon Brian Garland’s novel. Co-starring opposite Bruce Willis is Vincent D’Onofrio, Elisabeth Shue, Camila Morrone, Dean Norris and Kimberly Elise. I may have a few reservations, but Eli Roth is bringing Paul Kersey back into theaters guns a-blazin’ when Death Wish unloads in theaters on March 2, 2018.
The official synopsis for Death Wish:
Paul Kersey becomes a divided person: a man who saves lives, and a man who takes them; a husband and father trying to take care of his family, and a shadowy figure fighting crime; a surgeon extracting bullets from suspects’ bodies, and a man seeking justice that detectives are quickly closing in on.